August 31, 2010

Daft Punk, Part 1: 3D modeling

I've been a long time fan of Daft Punk. Of course, any fan knows that if you're a fan of Daft Punk, you're not just a fan of the music - you're a fan of the entire experience. The music, the shows, the videos, the costumes, the whole thing. Being a prop builder, my obvious interest is the costumes.

Photo is © Daft Punk

If you're in the prop building community and are also a Daft Punk fan, you're probably already aware of Volpin Props' awesome Guy-Manuel helmet. Volpin pulled out all the stops. It is no doubt that his phenomenal work has inspired me to build my own Daft Punk helmets. As one of 2Story Props' next group projects, I'll be working on both Guy's and Thomas' helmets simultaneously, with a goal of Halloween 2011 (hopefully). Of course, the entire ensemble with include the leather suits and the gloves (or, if we choose to go with electronics, totally pimpin' 70s outfits).

Prior to the start of my Daft Punk project, I had experimented with incorporating 3D modeling into my projects, and implementing it via Pepakura. Pepakura is a Japanese computer program that can import a variety of 3D model formats, and can "unfold" it into flat, segmented components. You would then scale it to however tall you need the model, and then arrange the parts on a grid and print it out. The paper would then be cut out, folded, and glued together. The fan-made prop community has utilized this method to a great extent. Seasoned prop builders often scoff at the idea since a good amount of pepped projects end up with (frankly) such low quality. But that's another rant. Knowing how to use it correctly and knowing your way around 3D modeling comes as great benefits to the method, and it can be used quite effectively. Most recently for me, the ODST project included several 3D models (designed by yours truly) and built via pepakura.

Back to Daft Punk. The Guy and Thomas helmets, with their simple shapes and smooth surfaces, are perfect candidates for pepakura. The trick, however, is finding the right references and finding the right scale. When choosing the right references, it was important to focus on silhouette rather than overall view - the chrome finish on these helmets can be tricky in certain lighting, and given the large, bulbous shapes on these helmets, the right angle can mean everything when designing the 3D model. As for the scale, since the original helmets are fit only to the two DJs and no other people (except for the instance in Electroma, which were secondary/background helmets), there is hardly enough reference to go by when determining the proper scaling of the helmets. And scaling is everything with these helmets - a half inch too tall, and it's WAY too big; a half inch too small, and its WAY too small.

The 3D modeling portion of the project went rather quickly, mostly due to the simplicity of the helmet designs. I had some modeling practice on more detailed Halo helmets, so when the Daft Punk project started up, the technical aspect of designing the 3D models was a breeze.



Also having done several Pepakura models prior to this project made the Pepakura designing stage rather easy too. However, knowing how you will build the paper model in advance always helps out when designing the Pepakura model. It's also critical to know how the paper will naturally bend, as well as knowing where your folds will be. With Pepakura, it's always best to not make any folds unless its absolutely necessary, or unless the model has a physical edge at a certain point where a fold makes sense. With the Daft Punk helmets, there aren't many folds to make except for glue tabs. The naturally-flexed paper (as opposed to folded) would later prove to hold stronger and more accurate shape in the paper stage.



Both models went through three versions of the paper model. The first two versions of each helmet were scaling tests. In each case, the first helmets were too small and the second helmets were too big. It's pretty funny when looking back at it.





In the next installment of the project, you will see the helmets after having received fiberglass reinforcement to the paper model, and the initial sculpting phases. That will definitely have to wait a while, though, as we still have two more ODST costumes to build, and I have to move to my new apartment! So expect to see more major updates to the Daft Punk project in November or so.


  1. very awesome! i dont suppose you would like to share the pepakura files?

  2. First Of all THOSE ARE AMAZING!!! BEST ONES I'VE SEEN, so dude could you please send me the guy's pepakura file, I'm begging you

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  4. Can you share these please? I found them on the 405th the day before you deleted them... :/

  5. Sorry guys, I am in lock-down mode with my files. I took them off the 405th because I found someone handing them out as their own. The situation was handled pretty quickly, but I haven't decided how I'll continue.

    I do know that the format isn't how I'd want to distribute the files in the future, though, and I haven't even decided how I feel about distributing my files at all. The way I see it, it's pretty much giving out an unfinished product. I'd much rather sell castings of the final product, of which would have my quality control stamp of approval and would be how I intended the model to end up.

    I will be molding these up (since on my end, the final product will have to be a casting), so I may offer castings after the project to recuperate my financial losses on the project.

  6. Your enthusiasm toward the project is most welcome and appreciated, though!

  7. I am currently in process of making Daft Punk Helmet. you can find my work here :

    I really wish i could do a pepakura model. I have been looking high and low for it. I came across yours because of Volpin Props. I was wondering if you can send me a pepakura file so i can spend my time on it over the christmas break. i want to start over and do it right. Anyway, feel free to send the file at Thanks! :)

  8. Hi David,

    I was wondering, at my school we have a cure for cancer dance comming up in march that currently does not have many people showing up. I was attempting to make a few helmets from various dj's, such as deadmau5 who i already made, and my next two were the daft punk duo. In order to raise support and get more people to come for this event to raise money for the four diamonds foundation, i wanted to ask you if i could have your files to only make one of each helmet. I understand that you do not want them distributed, so you already have my name, and my email adress is, so i can promise you i will not distribute them. If you do (and you won't) see these files back online, you have my name and you can sue me or something? If you could please consider this, and reply back to my email. Thanks!!!

  9. Mr. Reimer.
    I would very much appreciate it if you could email me the pepakura file for the Bangalter helmet. I am attempting to create a helmet for my school's upcoming 2011 Halloween Dance, and i haven't been able to find anything nearly this accurate anywhere. This would be a one-off, and i guarantee you that i wouldn't distribute the files. If people ask me, i will give you your due credit.
    -Mark Swam

  10. Hello, i've been thinking for a long time about building my own DP helmets, and i think this is the perfect vay to. The point is that i see you are not sharing the 3d models. Is there any possibility that I pay for them? I really think they are perfect and this would be a good starting in the prop world.

    Please, answer me at

    Hope you give me the chance! Regards!

  11. I'd really like to buy 3d model of guy manuel's helmet,if possible, both of them. please contact me

  12. Hello

    I'm planning my first build and would like it to be the Guy helmet, I've searched the internet for the best version and by far yours is the most accurate. Wanted to know if you are selling either the pepakura file or as mentioned in the comments finalized molds. Please contact me with any information and pricing.

  13. hi this is an awesome project. and like many other am very interested in the Pepakura files. Any chance i can get those. If not just dimensions would be great to start from. Thanks

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  15. Hi David,
    I would happily buy the 3D Files from you, as I really want to make 3D Models of Thomas and Guy-Manuel. All credit would go towards you, and you will see the finished results before anyone else.
    Many thanks.

  16. I see that you are obviously not not sharing the 3d models. Can I pay for them? or get at least the vector image to print and fold it? Please let me know at

    Best Regards!

  17. david.

    before anything else, you have fantastic work.

    i am beginning my halloween 2013 costumes [guy + thomas] next week.
    i plan on making the final helmets in a 3d printer thru rhino or 3ds max [what i modeled a deadmau5 head in], but i'm wanting to model a mockup before hand. i haven't used pepakura since 2006, but it honestly seems like a perfect program for crafting my prelims. in addition to the request above, is there anyway i can get [kind favor or payment, either way with credit given to you] simple measurements, pepakura files, vector images, or 3d model files from you? please make me aware at your convenience. thank you.

    also, my brother is a patent attorney and i can surely handle any issue or design you might need handled.

  18. I applaud your amazing work, I would be amazed to make one that good. I have been looking for pepakura files for a while. Yours is by far the best. Could you please share it(and or the tron one) with me? I will not upload or distribute them or anything, as that is a jerk move. I have already made one or two pepakura models, but didnt like them enough to finish them. Please send the files to

  19. Hi there! I'm really interested in making a Guy helmet using your model, but are you still under lockdown on the pepakura files? If you are, then I understand!

  20. Hi! I would like to buy one of your designs . Are you selling them? If thats the case send me a email to